Pawan Kumar Gupta, one of the four men convicted in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape, need not be treated as a minor, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, dismissing a petition filed by the death row convict to stop his execution on February 1 at 6 am.
A bench led by Justice R Banumathi had taken up Gupta's special leave petition against his hanging earlier this morning. Gupta had contended that he was a juvenile on 16 December 2012 when a 23-year-old paramedic on her way home was gang-raped and killed by six people.
At the hearing in the Supreme Court, Gupta's lawyer AP Singh accused the police of concealing the records about his age. "Pawan's date of birth is October 8, 1996. These records were concealed by the Delhi Police, it is a big conspiracy," said the lawyer. He insisted there is new material and produced the school certificates to establish Gupta's age.
The bench, however, pointed out that the certificates are dated 2017, which was after Gupta's conviction in the case.
"The issue regarding Pawan's age was raised before Supreme Court in the review petition and dismissed. Can you keep raising new plea on the ground that new facts have come to light?" said Justice Ashok Bhushan.
Countering AP Singh's argument, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the Delhi High Court had considered the plea that Pawan Gupta's date of birth was October 8, 1996. "It even recorded that plea and rejected it," he said.
The Delhi High Court had on December 19 last year dismissed Gupta's claim that he was a juvenile at the time of the offence in December 2012 and had deprecated the conduct of his lawyer AP Singh for filing forged documents and not appearing in the court.
On Friday, a Delhi court had issued fresh death warrants for February 1 against the four convicts - Pawan (25), Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) - in the case.
Pawan Gupta was among the six men on the bus when the paramedic and she boarded the bus.
Four people were convicted in this case. Their fifth accomplice committed suicide in jail while the sixth accused got away with a three jail term after he was found to be a juvenile.